10 MAY 1930, Page 12



THESE negro choristers stand in four grave rows, the women in white with their hands folded before them, the men in black with hands behind their backs. And they sing, simply. There is no visible effort, no heaving of chests ; pure voice rises with miraculous unity from the choir as a whole. If a soloist takes part, it is very unobtrusively to the eye. Their attack is faultless, their precision remarkable, and the degree of polish the choir as a whole attains deserves the highest praise for their conductor, Dr.Dett. If Londondoes not hasten to hear them on Sunday at the Albert Hall, it will lose a rare 'pleasure.

The choice of last Saturday's programme at the Queen's Hall was designed to show the range and skill of these silvers. In some ways one regretted this, for the purely negro music had by far the richest emotional content. The swift and fiery Lord, Our God, have mercy, to Lvovsky's setting, was as fine a rend- ering as one might wish. But other choirs, English or Russian, might give us these, though probably not with the same genuine religious passion as in the latter. Nevertheless, it was the negro idiom of Listen to the Lambs which, in the end, we appreciated particularly. The male voices alone in Father Abraham, with its. exotic drumming of piano shouts as accompaniment, the wailing soprano soloist weaving into the full choral beauty of Oh, hear the lambs a-crying, the hummed accompaniment of Water Boy were unmatchable and at moments almost unbearably exciting. The Queen's Hall audience was lamentably small, but made up for size by- remarkable enthusiasm and applause : many there paid the